Title: ‘Panic’ and ‘The Runaway’
Publisher: University Of Tokyo Press
Publication Date: 1977
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
Edition: 1st Edition.
Tokyo. 1977. University Of Tokyo Press. 1st Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. Translated from the Japanese by Charles Dunn. 122 pages. hardcover. 0860081966. keywords: Literature Translated Japan Asia. inventory # 4942. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Available for the first time in English translation are two best-selling stories by Takeshi Kaiko, a popular contemporary Japanese writer. The stories presented here deal with a theme often found in Kaiko’s work - the plight of the individual struggling against the overwhelming pressures of the system. ‘Panic,’ written in 1957, relates the story of Shunsuke, a hardworking young bureaucrat, as he tries to steer his own course through a corrupt world of officialdom. An employee of the forestry department of a local government, Shunsuke predicts a plague of rats and submits a detailed report outlining countermeasures against the pending disaster. First the report is snubbed; then, when the plague becomes reality and the town begins to panic, Shunsuke’s superiors react in stereotypically bungling bureaucratic fashion. ‘The Runaway,’ published two years after ‘Panic,’ is set in Ch’in China in the third century B.C., a brief peaceful period following unification of the country under the first emperor. The narrator, a Chinese peasant, is abruptly wrenched from his quiet life, one of hundreds of thousands of men conscripted into a ruthless corvée system to build the Great Wall in an effort to keep out the barbaric Central Asian Hsiung-nu from the newly established empire. The historic events of the time are visible only in dim outline, as they affect the life of the narrator. Both ‘Panic,’ revealing modern man in his everyday situation, and ‘The Runaway,’ a historical novel of sustained imagination, are thoroughly good stories. Perhaps, with the departure of some of the more aesthetic and psychological writers from the scene, Kaiko may be heralding a new style in Japanese literature. These translations of two of his representative works will bring Kaiko much-deserved recognition as a lively describer of human existence against a realistic background and a writer of universal appeal. Takeshi Kaiko, born in Osaka in 1 930, is one of Japan’s outstanding short story and essay writers. Charles Dunn is professor of Japanese at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University. Bookseller Inventory # 4942
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